Government has confirmed Tees Valley will control a £29.5million adult education budget next year as the Mayor and Combined Authority take responsibility for the region’s post-19 education delivery.
In a letter, the Department for Education confirmed that the final devolved funding commitment for 2019/20 will be £29.446million.
The Mayor and Combined Authority will become responsible for this adult education budget for the 2019/2020 academic year from August 1.
The budget will be used alongside devolved powers which will encompass adult education delivery, funding, and performance management for Tees Valley residents.
The Tees Valley devolution deal, signed in 2015, agreed that this budget would be permanently devolved to the region and allocations agreed on an annual basis.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This September we will control a £29.5million annual fund to improve post-19 education across the Tees Valley. We are only getting control of this fund because our region agreed to a directly-elected Mayor. This is yet another example of devolution working for our area.
“This confirmation is the final step in taking local control of the post-19 adult education budget for our residents, but the first step towards developing a skills system that will help our businesses succeed and grow by developing home-grown talent.
“Thanks to devolution and because we agreed to a directly elected Mayor, we can now invest in training, or retraining, home-grown talent and focus on giving priority to those skills our employees are crying out for.
“For decades, some companies took the easy way out and brought in cheap labour to fill demand. But with this new fund, we will start investing in local people by re-training them to fill our skills gap.
“This is separate to the £55million funding for education, employment and skills recently agreed in our Tees Valley Investment Plan. But like the cash in that plan, this devolved funding will help us create a more responsive and dynamic environment that puts our local people at the front of the queue and boosts the economy for us all.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Combined Authority Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills and leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We’re committed to creating jobs, but that alone won’t help if our residents aren’t prepared and able to access rewarding careers. Now we can take local decisions to decide where best we can spend our money to change the fortunes of people across the region.
“By working with providers in the public and private sectors, we can help adults back into the world of work. And, thanks to the £55million education, employment and skills budget recently agreed in our Investment Plan, we can further target the issues and maximise the opportunities in our area to make sure future generations aren’t left behind.”